Episode 71: How the Wrong Motivation Makes Selling Harder


Let’s get ready to Throwdown!

Welcome to the show everybody. Last week, we talked about motivation in sales. And we were specifically talking about is motivation enough. Is it enough of a driving characteristic that it’s going to make you successful in all instances of selling? We talked through that, and then over the course of the conversation, it kind of shifted to is there a space where motivation hurts you more than helps you. We’re ¬†going to pick up the conversation this week talking about how motivation can sometimes be too much and it keeps you from performing at the levels you want in your sales ¬†conversations. Enjoy, follow on social media, and please share this with somebody else who might need it. Thank you.

So again, it’s a it’s a, it’s a problem that has a solution. Are you the right person to deliver that solution?

I think I’m shooting from the hip here. But like, I think you have to be able to frame that to find the problem you want to solve, right? Because like when I was working for you, Al, and I was, I didn’t know any of this stuff. I not been working really like any of this stuff and had a bunch of ego for no real great reason. Like I was looking at solving the problem is like I need to be liked. Right. And so like, like that was largely a problem that I couldn’t really figure out how to solve. Now, now that I’ve learned all of this stuff and learnedabout myself and everything else like this, I view it as like, Hey, I can fix your problem. Like, you might not like me. And that’s totally okay, we might not ever need to like hang out or have drinks or pal around or anything else like this. But if you have a problem, I can probably at least show you where the problem like really lies, and then point you in the right direction. And like that’s a game I can win at. And I’m totally downplaying that all the time. And now that I know that I know that I am excited to prospect and to network in the end to get in front of people. But like, I think it’s important that you have to view that through like the correct lens, right. And I think we’re all here because we’ve done that, right? Clint wants to win. Nannette wants to like get along with everybody and have like, like large amounts of great relationships and peace and Al wants to do some of that same stuff, but also wants to be liked and all of these things. So we know these components about ourselves. And so I think you have to build the question and the problem the right way. So that way you do want to solve it. Do you think that’s true? Am I just talking out of my ass? No,

No, no? Go ahead.

I do want to say that, um, you know, you said about being liked. I mean, again, it’s a component, you You better be doing something for the person you’re selling to because if you’re just there to be liked, I mean, you will big deal and you can be liked by the person at the grocery store. You need to be bringing something to your client they that they need, you know, I think you have to identify that you have to bring something to their world, it can’t just be that they like you. I mean, that’s a great component. But there it has, you have to make something in their life better by that by the relationship you have with them.

The current the current get rich quick scheme with like with like online businesses, right? Because it kind of shifts every couple of years, right is is this idea of like the agency model currently. And all you have to do is go find people who can do the work. And then you’re just the salesperson, and you’re just kind of passing on their work at a marked up price, right. And there’s a there’s a bunch of people buying into this idea that like you don’t have to know how to do anything, right it as long as you can have conversations, these people will just stay with you. And like what all these people are finding is that they’re not actually bringing any value to these relationships to Nan’s point. And so then after a while, people are smart enough to figure some of this stuff out, right? And if you are not bringing massive value to the relationships, and to the people that you work with it, you know, you’re only going to get so far.

So Al, you were, what do you want to say?

Well know that that speaks to the point of our conversation, because Nan, a lot of times likes to tell me that I don’t do any work that she did all the work. Right. So why am I getting any of the money, right? And, you know, she kind of barbs me with that. And then today, I solved the problem. And I said, See, that’s my currency, right? And she stopped and she was like, I think she got it. Right. So solving the problem, okay, is the currency, right? That is what gets you paid. And that problem may be on your end or their end? Because initially, it’s your problem. How do you get through the door? How do you get to the decision maker, but then you get to the motivation, or you know, and you use motivation, through all those because door slams in your face, you’re like, I got to find the motivation to go challenge another gatekeeper to throw me out of the office. Right. But then once but and I said, it’s a short term scenario, I get past the gatekeeper. Now my motivation is what, to give a good presentation to show my skill set to not, you know, spill it all out there to find out what the real problem is that I’m here to solve. You see what I’m saying, you go as far as you can see and you stop and go further.

Big picture scenario, it’s just it’s a big picture. You know, you have to like,

I think, I don’t, no, I think it’s the small picture. I’m first of all, trying to not get thrown out of this office right. Now. You got the big picture, but you got to, you got to put it into smaller bites. So that you’re, you know, because if a plane takes off, right, from New York going to London, they go X number of miles and they figure out where they are because they’re not going in a straight line. They got a zigzag. They got cross winds, they got to have a bailout procedure. No, seriously. I mean, think about it that way. A sales call’s no different.

Oh, oh we have.

You would think that Al is a pilot for as often he uses like the New York to London like, like metaphor.

Love the metal, we could count. I don’t know how many episodes we have. But I bet we could count at least 10 that that analogy has been used for a topic. I love it.

I think it Yeah, you know, can I keep?

I’m not shitting on you. I just think it’s funny.

No, no, I would like to. But as you were talking, I was thinking, one of my favorite things…

So you weren’t listening?

One of my favorite things to tell people for motivation, and I don’t know, can really go under that umbrella. But I love when people go, Well, God, how am I going to do this, instead of going, “Well just get out there and do it.” And I always just go, okay, it’s like eating an elephant. And so when you were talking about the different stages, and I thought, you know, you just it’s one bite at a time, just take one bite, if you don’t mind, the motivation is if you don’t take one bite, then you’re always going to have a bloomin elephant standing funny. So take a bite, take a bite, take a bite. And eventually it’ll be done. So that’s I I love that analogy of. And I just had to say that.

We’ve kind of been talking around the point but like, you know, when you can figure out the sections of your process, right? And let’s say that you’re very old school, you’re very traditional, right? You cold call to get an appointment, the appointment is to qualify, like, see if there’s a need, right? And then you work through the rest of your process, and then you present a solution, right? If that’s your thing, then you have to go figure out like, which one of those is the lowest, right? This guy, he sent me a DM and he was like, Hey, man, I’m not closing enough. And I said, Okay, cool. How consistently are the people that you’re talking to qualified? He’s like, well, I don’t know that either. And I said, Where are you really stuck? And he goes Oh, well, like I’m not getting very, very many appointments. And I’m like, you got to fix that thing first. Right? You can’t be worried about like, increasing your closing ratio if it’s taking you like 25 conversations to get to like one. Yeah, nobody qualified to buy, right? Yeah, absolutely. Right. And this, to me is the thing that like, drives me the craziest, right? Because like people don’t actually qualify at all. And they just want to rush to a pitch because they get like, the nice ego stroke of like, Oh, yeah, man, I killed that proposal. I killed that pitch. But they weren’t even qualified to like hear it, you’re just wasting time to like stroke your own ego. It doesn’t make any sense.

Well, John, you just hit on something that it’s kind of universal. Right. You know, are they even qualified to buy what you’re trying to sell? I mean, that’s what a lot of people miss. Yeah. You know, they’re highly motivated. They got a skill set. But they’re idiots. And they’re, they’re talking to the wrong people. Right? Well,

Well, I mean, if, because it’s pitched as this idea that like, the salesperson is influential enough to get them to a yes.

Right? Do you really want to get a yes from some guy that doesn’t want to buy? Well, I mean,

Well, I mean lots of people do.

Like, that’s, that’s okay. And that’s why they grind. That’s why this this move, I think can be so hard on you at times, right? No,

I mean, I agree. Right? Like somebody called me out there. They’re like, Oh, yeah, you know, John talks about having like a high close rate. And I was like, you know, I have a pretty decent close rate. And they said, Well, why? And I was like, well, there’s lots of people I just choose not to pitch to, and they’re like, Well, isn’t that convenient? And I’m like, why, yes, is it I mean, it is kind of convenient, because I don’t pitch to people who are not invested, I don’t then have to chase these people around with like a whole bunch of follow up sequences. And let me go like your stuff on LinkedIn so that we you know, that I’m still following you and all this stuff that some people advocate and talk about, if you’re not really bought in, if you’re not really invested, if you don’t tell me that you want to hear the pitch, because you’re really interested in seeing if it’s a fit for you, I’m not going to waste the time to pitch you, we’re not going to schedule another call, there’s no reason to continue this conversation. So and I think that that’s important, right? Because, you know, the other side of that ratio is the thing that like, you know, we talked about a lot in the in the early days of the show, you know, I close 10% of the people that I that I talked to you, you can’t you can’t go and look at the people that you’re talking to and find some commonalities and the people who never work with you, right. To Clint’s point, he talks about this all the time. We’ve been we’ve been we’ve been we never win anything, I’m not gonna bid to you anymore. Why would I do that? Right? I mean, it’s the definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome.

Well, Clint, speak to you firing when you you’ve come into positions, right? You know, cuz I know you’re Vice President and all of that multinational company. I’ll go ahead and say that and said it sitting in your position, you you’ve often correct me if I’m wrong, you spoken to the fact that when you come in sometimes you clean house and throw a bunch of their business out to the curb? I mean, that’s a ballsy move.

And I’ve done I’ve done that, you know, and it’s not it’s not because? Well, because the question is always asked, you know, for me is who’s our best customers, right? And tell me why. And, and that’s usually my, like, my first month at any new company I’ve worked at, “who’s our best companies?” And I’ll get this laundry list of people, these people, these people, these people also, okay, why is it? Oh, cuz they always give us work. And they always do this, and they treat us right. Okay, those are all good. Those are all great things. Sounds awesome. So, so you guys are killing, you know, like, that’s kind of, so you guys are just you, you don’t, you don’t need any help, you know, and then you. And then next thing I do is I dig into the financials, and I get into John’s world and the spreadsheets and the data, and I start breaking all that down. And I and it’s always funny to me back to come back to those same people and say, okay, you gave me your top five, these people have made you negative 250,000 over 12 projects, right? And these people that you didn’t even consider in your top 10 you’ve made the most money with, but you don’t like them, or they’re not fancy, or they don’t have a big company name with them. Right, but you made maybe 25% gross margin with them. Right? So, um, so so then I focused all everything on that and doing exactly what John is saying, I started finding out other people like that. Probably be in they’re probably successful. Those are probably the best customers financially and also, but in my world, it comes down because that’s probably what you perform the best in the field. Right? So why wouldn’t we just do 100 more of those, right? Why are we trying to be something that we’re not, why are we trying to do all these great things outside of it? And my theory too, is like if you’re in a market and you let’s say you, you do a percentage of the market work in one area, like for example in construction, we have commercial industrial multifamily. We’ve got high rise construction, we’ve got a lot of different avenues that you can go down vertical markets, you know. So one of the things that’s always funny to me is people will do, they’ll say all I want to do all this diversity, and that’s fantastic, right? You should always be diverse in case the market changes, especially in construction. But you got to also have your bread and butter, right. And when your bread and butter is one avenue, man, be the best in town, do whatever it takes to be the best at that, and people will buy from you if you have a brick and mortar. If you set up shop tomorrow, and you say I’m John’s HVAC company, and you put your name on the side of the building, eventually, it may take years, it may take a long time, eventually, because you have a building, somebody’s gonna stop and knock on the door and say, hey, my air conditioners broke. Do you guys fix air conditioners? That’s that’s a wait,

Yes, we do! Finally, two years. We’ve been waiting for you!

But but there is there is people that are gonna you know, because you have a brick and mortar, you’re going to do some sort of sales at some point gets some phone call. And, you know, it’s just going to happen naturally. But that that shouldn’t be the, that shouldn’t be the pace of how you sell, right? Oh, I am this company. And we have this brick and mortar. So therefore everybody will buy from me because I put a sign out on highway six, right? That’s, that’s a form of sales and advertising. But it’s not. It’s not how you sell. It’s not what you do. But But heading into those vertical markets, right is you got to have your bread and butter and still my goal is always 51% of the market share just the majority, right? I don’t want 100. I want 51%

Just want the majority. Don’t ask for much.

Wow,, but it’s a, but it’s a good goal, right? So, and it’s achievable in a lot of places. So you know, if I do if there’s five companies out there that do exactly what I do, and they can do it as well as I do, I want to figure out how to do it a little bit better and get to that 51%, when I’m at that 51% of market share in my business, then that 49% that’s my diversity, right. But that 51% is my bread and butter, that’s what I’m going to be the best at. And then as our company grows, I start to build those vertical markets in the same Avenue. And the same in the same way I built my bread and butter. But if you don’t have one that to my point, if you don’t have a bread and butter, and you’re not motivated around any of them to speak into motivation, eventually they’re all gonna crumble. Or they could all crumble, right. And I just think you got to be really careful about. So to the point of what we’re talking about. I do come in and I see all these, I see all these people that they call great customers, and now we make a ton of money with them. Sales and profit are two very different things. If I can sell if I could sell everything that negative gross margin and do it for less than and sell it for less than cost doesn’t mean my company’s gonna make any money off of it. And the salespeople we get, we tend to get really one sided on Hey, I sold $20 million dollars last year. Yeah, but we lost 2 million off the 20 million you sold. So really, you’re so negative 2 million. That’s the way I look at it, right? And so you can’t be you can’t look at one line on a spreadsheet, you can absolutely not do it, you always should be chasing that profitability. Because if I can do $10 million and make $500,000 or do 20 million in sales and lose 2 million, I’m doing the 10 million making 500,000 All right, and well,

Well, not to cut you off. But we may be actually speaking, I mean, because there are guys that sell, you know, this widget and it gets some this kind of commission, right? I mean, you can even go to that to that point, and say, Okay, you’ve got a certain level of motivation, but you also have to have a certain level of discipline to get up and do that every day, to get your accounts in, to get… and there’s nothing wrong with that, guys. I mean, there’s literally nothing wrong if you’re told you got to sell so many iPhones or so many phones because you work at at&t, or so many, you know, whatever your unit of measurement is, if you if you’re expecting if you get $1 every time you sell it, you need to figure out how many you need to sell, get your game plan together and they get disciplined, like John said about your metrics. And and then to Clint’s point, you know, find those good customers, right. And you know, the ones are qualified to buy a phone or buy whatever, so that there’s a couple of different, you know, things you got to put together. But it doesn’t have to be hard. And you don’t have to stay super motivated. You just have to stay super disciplined about what it takes to get to whatever you need, month in month out.

Yeah, and and I’ll tell you I actually had a guy recently that worked for me that I watched him. You could go back in his kind of sales record and he was selling really well, selling really good margin work. And he wasn’t chasing these huge jobs. He was just he You know, we always set a target average project size for me this year was 750,000. That’s what we wanted our average project size to be, you know that that means you’re going to sell some $4 million jobs. That means you’re going to sell some $60,000 jobs.

Didn’t you sell one of those today?

Yeah, yeah, no, I sold the smaller end I sold. One. We call it a really small project. But you need those to keep guys working. You need workflow constantly. You need revenue incoming. Right? And, and especially in COVID. And this year, you take you take whatever you can get, but no, we’re also looking at when I sell a job like that, we’re really looking at when does it close? When does the revenue hit? Because if it’s not if it’s a big job, but doesn’t start till 2022, man that doesn’t do anything for my finances right now. It projects well, and it gives us hope for the future. But I need money revenue to keep the lights on the day, and I need those jobs. So I watched him, I watched his, or I saw his financials for over the years before I got here. Then he sold all those. And then one year, he sold a $12 million job, right. And he got the taste of a commission and the reward. And he got that taste for the big we call it the Whale Hunter. Right? Like a casino. They’re always looking for the whales, right? He got he got that taste. And his sales plummeted. Well, well, five or six years, right. And the first thing I spoke to him about in the first month that I was here, after going through all that stuff. I said, you know, man, I really need to focus on the just, I just want you here $200,000 job this month, I don’t care how you get to 200,000. That’s what I need you to do. But month after month after, you know, weeks on end, and we gave him plenty of chances. He always brought in these opportunities that were $15 million, $30 million. I’m like, look, you know, our hopko is only $30 million total. I don’t want to take on a $30 million project. Why are you even bringing this? You know, that’s such a stretch from a $200,000 project. So I watched his motivation plummet because now he’s not selling anything. Now he’s getting zero. And he’s always trying to make up for that loss. And so he just, you know, his motivation fell flat. And and money can do that. Right? Money’s not money is a motivator for some, but it can also be a deterrent for others.

Okay. And I’d like to speak to that as well, because you hit really on a topic that came through this conversation. I know the same type of individual, guy earned 750K, because he was in telecommunications, and he was selling hardware and then the residual. So he nails a big phone, bank or whatever it is, ends up with 750K that year, and then struggled right struggle because his lifestyle went like this. And from what I understand, man, it kind of ruined him. I mean, and that I speaking to what you just said, you get one of these big jobs. Now you’re the big dog and you got all that going on. And you you lose that motivation, or you shift your focus to that needle in the haystack. No, no, no, no, no, you spoke to the point, stay in your lane, if this is what got you there. And while you’re still in that lane be looking, be now you know what to recognize, and you can smell it and see it. But if that’s if you’re hanging your hat on the fact that you can repeat, repeat these once in a lifetime sales. Be careful, be careful.

I mean, I watch I watch it happen even as like company, company projections a month to month, not not necessarily what we do. But I’ve seen in other companies where you’re you project, you know, let’s say a million dollars in sales for the month of January in January ends and you’ve only done 300,000. So now you have this debt of 700,000, you have to make up. So everybody you know, and if that goes on for a few months, now it’s getting towards, you know, the second third quarter, maybe even the fourth. And so what you do is you try to sell these huge jobs. And the problem is, is you focused on on bringing nothing in the door that actually comes in today. And you don’t get that $14 million job to make up for your deficit. Now you just don’t have anything. And that’s what happens to a lot of companies and, and, and motivation ties into all of that. Because success is motivating. I don’t care what personality type you’re, if you’re successful, whether it’s money, or you’re winning jobs, or your company’s doing well, the people around you are successful everybody. It’s uplifting. It’s called morale, good morale. And it has a lot to do with winning produces, I think a lot of motivation.

So in those moments, right at because I think about this all the time, like I would rather have the guy who’s going to book or is going to have 7 $20,000 jobs in his pipeline than the guy who’s gonna have you know, the 140,000 one-shot. Like I would much rather take the guy who’s going to be consistent. And I wonder how much of that is like learned behavior, because a bunch of sales managers don’t look at data. They don’t care about process. They’re just focused on results. Because like that’s what they were able to provide. So, so they’re building that culture, inadvertently. And so and so that’s why these sales guys are like, man, I have I have I have a $50 million project boss and it’s it’s any day now.

Yep. And any day turns into seven or eight months. Yeah. And and I will tell you that I’ve always been curious of why. And we’re getting a little bit off topic of motivation. But I’ve always been curious of why operations managers are always when you’re selecting that next president, it’s usually never from the the sales side of the company, or the pre construction or my business or pre construction side, it’s always the operations, right. And so when an operation guy gets in, in charge of everything, he wants, typically, he just wants numbers, right? Okay, there, you know, corporates asked me to produce numbers. So okay, pre construction department, give me your projections for the month and whether they’re valid or not, he just gets these numbers constantly. Right? Okay. Well, the guy the guy doesn’t know what we’re, we’re scheming. So I’m just going to give them a whole bunch of bullshit numbers, I’m gonna tell him look at look at this huge pipeline. And then month a month, that pipeline just keeps pushing. And it’s all bullshit, right? Nothing produces, by the time you realize that nothing’s going to produce, that guy is getting fired. Right? I mean, it just happens. I watch it happen all over the place. And so, you know, it’s always interesting to me that I always wish we had. And I’m not saying that the sales guy should be go, you know, should be your next move for President. But I’m saying there should be some influence there. You know, he needs some knowledge, he needs to spend some time on the on the side. Because if you look at where every business started, it always started from a sale, right? Every every guy that started his own little business, he had to sell something right. And then he settles down, he moves on and retires or whatever. There’s always lost. And it needs to be remembered.

Oh, man, agree component. Night. So we were overtime guys. And you know, we talked about want to talk about talent, because that’s something else that people talk about is being a necessary component, we’ll need to do that on another day. So that way, we don’t just, you know, go on forever. And I think we’ve done because we’re a little bit long, I don’t think we need to go kind of go around the horn. Again, I think we we’ve all made it pretty clear that motivation is a factor, right? You got to find it in some way, shape or form, but it’s not going to be enough without looking for the other stuff. Right. The skills, the techniques, the the risk one. Yeah, the discipline, you know, to to Al’s point, right, which, you know, is really is really interesting to hear Al talk about that, right? Because typically, eyes are not the day to day people. Right? They’re there. They’re the visionary, right? There’s a great book about like entrepreneurship, it’s called “Rocket Fuel.” And it’s talking about the idea that people kind of fall in one of two categories, right? You’re visionaries, or you’re, I’m blanking on the name of it, but you’re, you’re an implementer, right? So you do the day to day, right? And good businesses have this kind of balance, right? There’s the idea person is the person who can like actually act and implement and handle the day to day carrying out of those ideas. Nan’s give me a thumbs up.

It’s got to have everybody.

Yeah, and so I love that that Al like knows that, you know, as an I, right? That that some of that discipline is just not in his toolkit, right? Like, and I come to it from a different way. And so does Clint and so does Nannette. But like, you just have to find find where it lives for you. And like, how do you want to do this thing? Because it’s always easier to go do something else is kind of the kind of the thing that I think about? So awesome. Anybody have any last thoughts before we before we wrap this up? I didn’t want to speak out of turn. Okay, awesome. So, guys, if you’re listening to this, you know somebody else in sales, we say it every week, but please share this with him. We make this job so hard, right? At the end of the day, we talked about a little bit about this, like this is not this is not a hard job, but it’s not simple, right? We, we make it difficult internally. So if you know somebody else in sales, and they’re not listening to this, please share this with them. There’s a lot of people talking about all the other side of sales around, you know, techniques and everything else like this. We’re firmly of the opinion that you can know all these techniques, but if you don’t know yourself, it’s not gonna work, right? At least not repeatedly and consistently. So take the time to know yourself. If you’re not taking the assessment, please reach out to us, 817-345-7449 we can get you the assessment. And if you would like we’ll actually go over the assessment results with you and kind of talk about how this shows up in your conversations and in your relationships. If you’re watching on YouTube, please like and subscribe. You could you’re getting to see Al’s Amazing. Amazing. Oh, he doesn’t have it in the frame. Nevermind there it is. get it get it. There it is. There. It is our special guest of the episode. I’m not even going to drop the name. You got to go check it out on YouTube. Yeah, so special guest appearance. Yeah, like this, like and subscribe. Please leave a comment. If you have a question or if you’re stuck on something you would like our opinion on it, you’re going to get at least four if not more than that. So ship it over. We’ll talk about it on the show. If we don’t talk about the show, if one of us will text you and kind of give you some some some advice. So we’ll see everybody next week. Thanks for coming out listening to us. If you’re a veteran, thank you so much for your service. We we all appreciate it. And there’s not much left to this year. So go out and be and be productive and get it done and also start your planning for next year. Thanks, everybody.

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